Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Moving On with Jacquie: Top Nine Moving Tips!

I'm very excited to introduce my newest guest blogger Jacquie! She is an expert in moving in the Navy and will be writing our newest segment Navy Moving Day, which will be the third Wednesday of each month. Let's face it, you move enough in the Navy to need a segment. She even included her own moving day photos - nice! Feel free to post a comment and welcome her then add your No. 1 moving tip or go to our forum and start up a convo!

Note: A lot of the tips below refer to movers. When you move in the Navy, you have the choice of letting the Navy hire outside contractors to move for you, and most people use this because let's face it, it's easier, it's less hassle, and the Navy purchases insurance so if anything is broken, you file a claim and get your money back. The movers are not Navy people. They are from all kinds of different companies the Navy hires. And, they are notorious for damaging stuff and just doing ridiculous things like packing your trash, or I had a friend who had their McDonalds lunch packed.

The other option is to pack everything yourself and the Navy gives you 95% of the commercial rate of the contractors doing it. This is all based on how much stuff you move and how far you move it. My husband and I have always moved ourselves, and found that we often times get to pocket some of the money. This isn't like stealing from the Navy because it's actually cheaper for the Navy if you do it yourselves so it's kind of like an incentive to do it yourselves. 

Another option is to hire your own contractor to move you instead of letting the Navy do it. The Navy will still give you the 95% even if you have a cheaper rate, so again you might get to pocket some of the moving money. Important thing to remember though is that my husband and my experience is based on moving without kids and from California to Nevada and back.

Sorry, that was a long note. Now please welcome our new guest blogger Jacquie!

It’s the day you have been waiting for, for several months! Love it or hate it—it’s here! It’s moving day!

You've just hopped out of the shower and barely finished your cup of coffee. You're searching for your husband so he can greet the movers. The dog is chasing the cat, your kids are running around with no pants on, and you are ready to face the day! 

or so you think ...

  Let us rewind for a minute now that I have given you a mental image of what moving day was like for me. Through 9 years of being a Navy Wife, we have had the military move us 4 times within 6 years. We started in Maine then moved to Florida, South Carolina, California, and most recently Tennessee. Before you move, you will want to read these helpful hints. In no particular order of importance, here are my top 9 ways to make your move easier.

Family members will want to give you things especially dishes. It is okay to say no and you must because if not you will either keep them in a box in the garage, and never use them or they will just take up limited space that you could use.  
On our first and second move, we liked to play a game called “whose grandma was it.” I mean who could refuse to take ownership of that cute little glass with the sleeping kitten on it? I obviously couldn't because this is an actual glass that was given to me by my Grammy. The only way I could tell who gave it to us was by the newspaper wrapping around it which was from my grandmother's town. There are several white dishes that my husband and I cannot come to a conclusion about. He swears they came from his grandma, but I am almost positive they were from mine.

This move, which by the way is six years after my first move, I have finally been able to let go of some of this stuff; including the kitty glasses.

Some people get rid of more than just unwanted presents. Some people have complete moving sales, getting rid of furniture and then buy new stuff at their new destination.


Totes are your best friend especially for holiday items. It may be a little costly at first, but you will thank yourself later. They even make holiday colored totes which makes it very easy to distinguish from the others.

The first move we had, I had previously organized all of my belongings in cardboard boxes. The movers took everything out of my organized boxes and put them in their own boxes, which was horrific! I had Christmas items mixed in with baby clothes and the box was labeled Christmas. This meant I did not find my son’s clothes until December.


If you have children who like to play with Legos or other building models, this next one is for you. You have got to pack them yourself or they may just be wrapped in paper and thrown in a box. The best way I have found to do this is to take all that extra tissue paper you have saved for years from parties and holidays and carefully wrap the models in them. Be sure to surround the odd shaped models with crumpled paper. Once you do that, you can then get some extra use out of those commissary paper bags by cutting them in smaller pieces and rolling the  model up in them for extra protection.

The reason for pre-packing your child's (or your own) models are that even if it were to fall apart some, when you open the package, all the pieces will still be together, which makes it very easy to put the model back together.


If you have a lot of similar items and I will use my children's superhero action figures as an example, you will save yourself some time if you simply put the superheroes in a plastic shopping bag (we are really getting some use out of those extra commissary bags today!) and toss them in a bigger see-through bag with other individually bagged items. You can invest in some of those gigantic Ziploc Bags or even a clear trash bag will work. 

The reason I do this, especially for my children's rooms, is because all I have to do is rip that shopping bag open and pour the contents into their canvas baskets.  The packers will throw every knick-knack and toy into a single box and you will have to re-sort everything which can be time consuming.

I use this method to organize items from my office and bathrooms too. When items are organized together, the chance of them getting lost is less.


It is always a good idea for you to be your own self advocate and make sure they are properly wrapping and caring for your belongings. This is especially true for your bigger items and paintings. The last thing you want to happen is after unpacking all of your stuff, you find many broken things that you have to claim. It can become a long process.


Do not fall for those cookies or pop tarts for lunch, no matter how good they look. Good nutrition is important. You are already going to be a bit sleep deprived and overwhelmed. Adding a poor diet too that will make everything much worse.
Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Kelsey who makes these cute little guys.

We take a cooler with us and put some fruits and vegetables in there and some quick healthy snacks that we can just grab in between meals. You will appreciate this if you are driving a long distance to your destination and the next exit is not for another 20 miles. Don't forget to pack some water and Tylenol!


Your house is about to be full of boxes, and if you are anything like I was on my first move, you have way more belongings than you actually need. One of the best ways to get rid of boxes fast is on the day your items are delivered, while your spouse is going through the list of items and crossing off numbers, start to unpack—especially the kitchen. As I mentioned, if you choose to take on Granny's dishes, you will have a kitchen full of boxes.

Why do this? As you are unpacking your kitchen, the movers can take those boxes and the heaps of paper that come with it back to the moving truck.


This is a good one for first time home buyers. I found it interesting when we bought our first new home in Florida that the home did not come with toilet paper holders and curtain rods or blinds.  This can become an expense that maybe you did not budget for or even see coming. When you are looking at homes, pay attention to the windows. If you have an odd shaped window like this one, it will cost you a few hundred dollars just for blinds and or curtains.


Make the best of where you are. No matter where you move to, you will find something you do not like about the Place.  Thanks to technology and websites like and, it’s really easy to find local groups to become a part of. You can also check out your new towns home page by Google searching “town of…” The website will usually end in “.gov.”

When I first moved to Pensacola, Florida, I found an awesome group for parents on and I am still friends with many of those women. There are other groups on that website as well.

If you have children, the nice thing about that situation is that little kids are pretty good at making friends with other little kids. If you are at the playground and your child is talking with another child, there is a good chance that eventually you and that child's parent will end up talking.

Your Thoughts: What is your No. 1 moving tip?

Jacquie has been a Navy Wife for 9 years. She is the mother of two boys of 8 and 6 years of age. She holds degrees in Math & Science, Psychology, and has her Licensed Practical Nurse Certification. Jacquie has been writing since she was a child, and uses her experiences as a mother, professional, and Navy Wife to help others.


  1. My number one moving tip would be to keep receipts in a plastic baggie during DITY moves. My husband and I started this for our last two moves (we've always moved ourselves up to this point, because I am kind of insane about our "stuff") and it has made life SO MUCH EASIER than trying to dig through the 49 receipts we acquire during moves.

    Even though this wouldn't be my top tip-I also have to add that if you have the movers move you (despite the fact that they use multiple companies) make sure everything is off the truck before you actually check everything off. A friend of ours (another sailor, obviously) moved last month and even though he had checked it off because it was on the truck, once he started to go through his things he realized his TV was missing. It's an ancient TV, so it made no sense, but he called the moving company and the guys who had moved his stuff were caught loading it in one of their cars. Probably an isolated incident, but it can't hurt anyway!

  2. VERY good idea about the receipts! We usually put them in our suitcase in a pocket, but if its in a baggie you can carry it with you to assure the receipts make it IN the baggie! :)I have to remember this tip next time. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I would like to share this website I found several years ago. They have check off lists of "things to do" at various times before, during, and after your move.


I love, love your comments and questions! Just remember to not mention any security info about your Sailor! Thank you!

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